Little Sister | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Little Sister

photo by Anne Fishbein

Being the hippest restaurant in Manhattan Beach is a hard row to hoe. It’s perhaps a steep learning curve for customers to go from casual upscale beach dining — the norm in this ’hood — to a dimly lit room with a profane hip-hop soundtrack. But Little Sister has something to prove to Manhattan Beach, and in the year and a half since opening, it’s become as much a staple of this upscale beach strip as the white wine–and-lobster joints. You’ll sit under the back-wall mural of a machine gun spewing vivid butterflies and eat Vietnamese crepes and Myanmar curries and Sichuan noodles and Balinese meatballs. Chef Tin Vuong, who is in the midst of building a small empire in the South Bay and beyond, seems to be having a lot of fun with this particular project. This is not cute American food with Asian accents — there’s a purity of intention that shines through. Dishes are boldly spicy where appropriate, unapologetically funky, bursting with flavor. Little Sister has something to teach Manhattan Beach about attitude and loud rap music and bold, very good Southeast Asian small plates, and Manhattan Beach is lapping it up.—Besha Rodell